the howling (1981)

Slim Pickens is in this… do you need to know more?

If I think about the people that read this place, I think most of us are around the same age-ish so – do you remember this movie? I remember there being a lot going around about this movie but I don’t really remember when or why. I know (or thought I knew) I rented it but I just watched it and didn’t remember jack shit the whole time. I’m not confusing it with the London one because I’ve watched that a few times over the last 40 years so where do I have these phantom memories from? I didn’t block things out because it’s not at all scary or anything and, if I rented this in the early 80s I would have been a horny kid and remembered the big nude-by-the-campfire scene but nope. I guess all of that is to say that I don’t have any fond, nostalgic memories of this and have no allegiance to it or anything and –

well wait – I also might mention that I’ve never really liked werewolf movies. I liked the London one I think because it had the girl from Logan’s Run in it and I think the only one I’ve ever REALLY liked is Dog Soldiers (Me guts, Coop!) (Fucking shift it!). I’ve just never really given a shit, I guess. I don’t really care for Mob / Mafia movies either. Or Godzilla. Or rap. Or martial arts. Or Ghibli. Others too but if we get back to that hanging “and” –

I thought this movie was kind of crummy.

This newscaster lady has been approached by a viewer to meet him somewhere. They think he’s probably a serial killer so she meets him alone in a peep show room with some graphic porn playing in the background. She screams and the cops shoot him dead as fuck. Her shrink sends her and her old man to some experimental colony up the coast to heal up and get her shit together. That night they meet some different types of strange people and later that night, after she rebukes her husband’s ‘let’s screw, baby’-ness – she hears something out in the woods. What is it?? ————> howling.

What comes next? More howling? Well – yes. Plus some of The Sex, some hunting, some Slim Pickens (NO, he’s not doing the Number 6 Dance), some sleuthing, some misdirection and then the big money shot transformation scene, without, you know, an actual money shot.

I lazily and feebly looked didn’t look very hard to see which one of these came out first, American Werewolf or this thing but from what I can tell they came out right around the same time, but this one has no Jenny Agutter.

So, yes – the big transformation. It’s – well – I’m sure it was groundbreaking back in the day. It’s there and it’s long. There’s lots of skin stretching and hair growing and lots of strangely pulsing pieces of flesh. Lot’s of eye work and lots of fingers stretching and claws growing. And growling and howling and screaming and it takes around ten minutes or so. And then they do it again about twenty minutes later. pulsey pulsey pulsey stretch stretch stretch grow grow grow. Honestly, I’m sure it was really novel and fright inducing back then but…. ehhhh… I’d probably rather just watch Spock transform from a kid into Spock on Genesis Planet, really. Or Jenny Agutter run around a lot.

To me, overall, I thought this thing was kind of lame. The novelty, I think, was Slim Pickens and no he wasn’t a-riding and a-whompin and nobody went back for a shitload of dimes. John Carradine was also in this if he means anything to you. Oh and Dick Miller who you’ll remember from everything in the 80s. Even your mom’s home videos. And no – not those ‘adult’ movies – just probably her wedding or high school reunion movies she made. Right? Maybe? Gross. What would your old man think? “Shut your eyes and keep your mouth shut, son, or I’ll strike you” “Go get me another Schlitz!” Technically – no that’s not how my dad talks or talked. Maybe my grandpa but he never threatened to give me a beatin’. And I think he just drank Canadian Club. Where did all of that come from? I don’t really know.

~ Spoilers in the next paragraph ~

But what’s to become of The Howling? At the end we found out that everyone in The Colony were actually werewolves all along. Even Slim Pickens! And the nymphomaniac! But they burned down the barn and killed them all right? No! Turns out our heroin has been bit and can turn to wolf whenever the fuck she wants! On live TV even! Fuck yeah! I’d watch that. I can’t even watch our local news anymore – I just can’t stand the people on there. So again – what is to become of The Howling? I guess there’s a bunch of sequels so I’ll have to watch them all. I am a completist.


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